We won’t fix Big Tech with better public policy alone. We also need better language. We need new metaphors, a new discourse, a new set of symbols that illuminate how these companies work, how they are rewiring our world, and how we as a democracy can respond.
Pois é, pessoa de exatas. A resposta tá fora das exatas. Chocante, né? 🤯 Não tanto. Mas você provavelmente sequer reconhece que há problemas mesmo.
Tech companies themselves are very aware of the importance of language. For years, they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in Washington and on public relations to preserve control of the narrative around their products.
Pois é, não basta só você não saber, também usaram isso pra te manipular.
The biggest insight in George Orwell’s 1984 was not about the role of surveillance in totalitarian regimes, but rather the primacy of language in shaping our sense of reality and our ability to act within it. In the book’s dystopian world, the Party continuously revises the dictionary, removing words as they try to extinguish the expressive potential of language. Their goal is to make it impossible for vague senses of dread and dissatisfaction to find linguistic form and evolve into politically actionable concepts.
If you can’t name and describe an injustice, then you will have an extremely difficult time fighting it. Making the world thinkable to a democratic public—and thus empowering them to transform it—is a revolutionary act.
A língua é nossa tecnologia fundamental, e a mídia tem monopólio sobre ela (no Brasil, um monopólio de fato – a Rede Globo).
Agora uma parede de texto, mas tudo bem interessante (ênfase minha):
In the late nineteenth century, the United States was in a situation similar to today. The rapid rise of industrialization changed the social fabric of the country and concentrated immense power over nearly every facet of the economy in the hands of a few individuals. The first laws to regulate industrial monopolies came on the books in the 1860s to protect farmers from railroad price-gouging, but it wasn’t until 1911 that the federal government used the Sherman Antitrust Act to break up one of the country’s biggest monopolies: Standard Oil.
In the intervening fifty years, a tremendous amount of political work had to happen. Among other things, this involved broad-based consciousness building: it was essential to get the public to understand how these historically unprecedented industrial monopolies were bad for ordinary people and how to reassert control over them.
Political cartoons offered an indispensable tool in this imaginative struggle by providing a rich set of symbols for thinking about the problems with unaccountable and overly centralized corporate power. Frequently pictured in these cartoons were the era’s big industrialists—John Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie—generally pictured as plump in their frock coats, resting comfortably on the backs of the working class while Washington politicians snuggled in their pockets. And the most popular symbol of monopoly was the octopus, its tentacles pulling small-town industry, savings banks, railroads, and Congress itself into its clutches.
The octopus was a brilliant metaphor. It provided a capacious but simple way to understand the deep interconnection between complex political and economic forces— while viscerally expressing why everyone was feeling so squeezed. It worked at both an analytical and an emotional level: it helped people visualize the hidden relationships that sustained monopoly power, and it cast that power in the form of a fearsome monster. Conveyed as a lively cartoon, its critique immediately connected.
E a pergunta que fica é:
What would today’s octopus look like?
A nojenta alt-right já resolveu isso:
In recent years, the alt-right has been particularly effective at minting new symbols that capture big ideas that are difficult to articulate. Chief among them, perhaps, is the “red pill,” which dragged the perception-shifting plot device from The Matrix through the fetid and paranoid misogyny of “men’s rights activist” forums into a politically actionable concept.
The red pill is a toxic idea, but it is also a powerful one. It provides a new way to talk about how ideology shapes the world and extends an invitation to consider how the world could be radically different.
Mas quem sabe a pessoa de exatas possa ajudar:
A hint of where we may find this new political language recently appeared in the form of the White Collar Crime Risk Zones app from The New Inquiry. The app applies the same techniques used in predictive-policing algorithms—profoundly flawed technologies which tend to criminalize being a poor person of color—to white-collar crime.
Seeing the business districts of Manhattan and San Francisco blaze red, with mugshots of suspects generated from LinkedIn profile photos of largely white professionals, makes its point in short order. It seems absurd—until you realize that it is exactly what happens in poor communities of color, with crushing consequences. What if police started frisking white guys in suits downtown?
Novas mídias, novos formatos. Afinal,
o meio é a mensagem.